John Clare successfully defended his Golf Max Central New York Open title by winning a one-hole playoff over fellow professional John Duthie at Cortland Country Club on July 5.
For the second straight year, Johnny Gruninger, of Syracuse, was the top amateur finisher at 5-under par 139. Gruninger finished tied for third with Eric Manning (Elm Tree GC).
Clare sank a three-foot putt for birdie on No. 18 to beat Duthie, of Lansing, and earn an unprecedented fourth consecutive CNY Open championship. He cashed $1,500. This is Clare’s fifth CNY Open title overall as he won in 2015 as an amateur.
“My first professional win was the 2018 CNY Open at Corning Country Club so this is a special event for me,” Clare said.
Clare and Duthie shared the 36-hole tournament lead at 9-under-par 135. Clare was the first-round medalist with a 66 and finished with a 69. Duthie, who finished tied for third last year, shot rounds of 67 and 68.
Playing together in the lead group, Duthie tied Clare with a four-foot birdie putt on 18 in regulation while Clare bogeyed the hole.
“I made a mental mistake off the tee on 18 in regulation and he made a great birdie putt to force a playoff,” Clare said. “I was upset but in a motivating way. My mindset was to win going into the playoff.”
While Clare has dominated the CNY Open over the last four years, the 26-year-old from Camillus is trying to make a name for himself on the professional circuit. He currently has full status on both the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica and the newly created Forme Tour. The Forme Tour supports U.S.-based PGA Tour Canada members. Charles Falgiatano, who competed in the CNY Open as an amateur, is among Clare’s local sponsors.
The CNY Open, which is open to amateurs, is the first major of the season on the Central New York PGA schedule. The 36-hole stroke play tournament, sponsored by Golf Max (with special thanks to Mike Sierchio), is a double point event for the CNY PGA Omega Player of the Year and Bradley’s Jewelers Cup standings.